Part 2: Taking Action — Following Amazon’s Lead to Exceed Standards and Create Customers for Life
If you missed our first installment, Part 1 talks all about what the Amazon Effect is and why it matters in the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing space. The gist of it is that, thanks to Amazon, the customer experience is held to so much more than it ever was before. Customers seek convenience, they want quick resolutions to their problems, and they need transparency in order to build trust.
And these expectations go far beyond the online retail market where they started, extending particularly into services, like HVAC, that have traditionally kept customers in the dark. Now, regardless of the fact (or perhaps because of it) that the average consumer still doesn’t have basic mechanical knowledge, they want providers that will be transparent with them, educate them, and guide them to make the most informed decisions they can for their homes and facilities.
That being said, it’s on the service companies to equip their field technicians with the tools and resources they need to satisfy customers at that level. Those tools must be able to fully communicate the scope of work involved, coach and support onsite techs, and provide instant communications for troubleshooting and collaboration. As you can imagine, the best tools are really just one tool that does all three.
The following are 3 significant steps a service company can take in meeting the challenge of the Amazon Effect:
1. Build customer trust through job site documentation.
A photo is worth a thousand words when it comes to showing versus telling (and don’t even get me started on what a video’s worth). Your techs should be able and encouraged to attach visual content of their job sites to every invoice, receipt, or deliverable going to your customers — and they can do it right from the smartphone devices already in their pockets.
Evidence and documentation they can see and hear are what today’s savvy customer wants and expects. How else are they supposed to know you’re not just trying to pull a fast one on them? What’s stopping them from buying on price if all they have is a dollar amount and a couple scribbled notes to base their decisions off of?
2. Equip technicians with the data and resources they need to get the job done right the first time.
An online, cloud-based info portal can arm your field techs with the manuals, diagrams, and internally created training content they need to get the job done — all without spending countless hours on the phone with their service manager or requiring an additional truck roll when they’re not sure about something. In case of unexpected complications, there needs to be a simple, quick, and reliable way to get information from the office to the tech that needs it onsite.
3. Enable on-the-job video calls for field technicians.
Technicians on the lower end of the experience spectrum need access to colleagues who “have been there and done that,” and that need will only continue to grow as the skilled trades gap grows. Video calling and collaboration is the time-sensitive answer to onsite repair problems.
Today’s information-age customer expects a high level of transparency, efficient service, and outstanding results for their investment. Service organizations who meet those expectations and strive for excellence on every job will have the customer loyalty that leads to business growth and success, no matter what the market outlook.